It's been awhile since I posted. Almost a month! It has been a crazy month, so you will forgive me. We have been moving off of the ranch and into our home in town. It has take a lot of work. We've laid flooring, painted, put down baseboard and quarter round. My back hasn't been too happy, but I've lost 10 pounds and we are starting to really feel at home. Today was a breakthrough, we got closer to normal - I mowed my new lawn (almost a quarter acre!) and smoked a brisket. Tomorrow I will install some bookshelves, take a hike up the butte with Hannah and Catherine, then settle in for some more sermon preparation.
I am taking this break not to share with you all about my personal life, but to share an amazing insight with you.
It is when we confess our own inability and act in simple obedience
that God reveals Himself in strength.
Now I have amassed quite a bit of education in my 47 years, but I realize now more than ever that my education at times hampers ministry more than facilitating it. I have seen the power of God at work here in Bozeman like never anywhere else I have lived. God has doubled the attendance of our church in six months. People have attended worship and given more in the last 8 months than in the last 8 years. Spiritual strongholds have been broken, psychological and spiritual oppression has been lifted, young men and women are coming to know Christ. God is bringing together the personnel for Montana College in a fashion that only God can.
And guess what else? As much as I would like to take credit I can't. It's all God. I just preach, teach, pray and love people. It's absolutely not me. A congregation and a community is looking towards God in humility and finding Him. I am humbled and invigorated all in the same moment.
So what's my role? I am just being obedient. I am equipping people for ministry and encouraging them to engage their community. I am preaching what God has given me. I have never been a great preacher; I pray that I am a clear communicator; but if God has shown me anything, it is that the love, beauty and kindness of the gospel will go places that my education and skill cannot.
This has been a hard move. I've left dearly loved friends and family in Texas. My back has caused me severe pain at times. It took a long time to get into this house and off the ranch. Melissa is still looking for a job and the list goes on. Yet in my weakness He is made strong. Paul, another highly educated man, says this in 2 Corinthians 12:19, a passage that has put this all together for me:
And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
I get it.
I love God. I love God with my mind and my heart. As I get older and am less able to do the things I once easily did, I am reminded over and over again, that truly - it is Him; not me. Amen.